A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions. MT 19:16-22
The young man asks the golden question, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus says, “If you wish to enter into life, keep my commandments.” This gives great proof of the Old Testament, our Jewish ancestry, and that the 10 commandments were given to Moses and the Israelites. To “enter into life” means to become a saint, a.k.a. enter heaven-eternal life. God is intelligent and keeps things very basic and simple for us, but making daily choices with temptation and a fallen human nature make it difficult. The choice in this beautiful life God has granted us is where the treasure of your heart truly lies. The young man’s treasure was in the security of his possessions. Many of us including myself find security in possessions. In and of itself not bad, but if we do not recognize where these possessions come from and we allow them to control us it could be devastating for our soul. It is not good enough to just keep the commandments. The young man says, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack? ”Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” We must detach ourselves from possessions that keep us from God (money, power, popularity, win at all cost, electronics-cell phones, video games, addictions, family, friends). Last, to follow Jesus we must pick up our daily crosses. This requires sacrifice. Love always does. St. Augustine’s sermon in the early period of the Church says that we love this life so much we are afraid to depart from it. In this life, we suffer and toil, work, have worry and anxiety. Why do we want to cling to these things? We will have none of them when we “enter into life”. We will have peace and joy, the heart’s deepest longing.
Today’s challenge: Spend some time in silence recognizing what “possession” is holding us back from giving ourselves completely to God. Make a plan to little by little get rid of this possession that is holding us back.
Become a saint!